A Prison gets to be a friend —
Between its Ponderous face
And Ours — a Kinsmanship express —
And in its narrow Eyes —

We come to look with gratitude
For the appointed Beam
It deal us — stated as our food —
And hungered for — the same —

We learn to know the Planks —
That answer to Our feet —
So miserable a sound — at first —
Nor ever now — so sweet —

As plashing in the Pools —
When Memory was a Boy —
But a Demurer Circuit —
A Geometric Joy —

The Posture of the Key
That interrupt the Day
To Our Endeavor — Not so real
The Check of Liberty —

As this Phantasm Steel —
Whose features — Day and Night —
Are present to us — as Our Own —
And as escapeless — quite —

The narrow Round — the Stint —
The slow exchange of Hope —
For something passiver — Content
Too steep for lookinp up —

The Liberty we knew
Avoided — like a Dream —
Too wide for any Night but Heaven —
If That — indeed — redeem —

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1 Comment

  1. mimi says:

    First off this poem was not written in 1955. That is proabably the publishing date for a book from which this was taken.
    Emily Dickinson was well-known for being a recluse. From 1865 and on she stayed in her bedroom writing and never left her father’s house. She never married. This poem is about her room; she has come to terms with her imprisonment (which was self-imposed by the way) and is ritualizing her behavoirs within the room. On the other hand, as is made clear by the last stanza, the prison is a metaphor for the body, spocifically her female body. As a poet, she is in a double bind( not my expression) she is both wary of transgressing gender roles while willing to assert her poetic (phallic) power. Thus the prison metaphor for her body: ” features day amd night/Are present to us as our own/And as escapeless quite.” The plural pronoun “us” is in regards to the split personalities Dickinson often employed; often masculine, but usually in regards to splits between an I for the soul and an I for the brain and an I for the body.

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